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The Sarotti Moor. Photo supplied

The Moor must go!

In the German city of Mannheim, a dispute over political correctness has been raging for months around the image of the Sarotti-Mohr.

Published: May 31, 2019, 9:01 am

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    Mannheim

    It was the chocolate maker’s popular adornment for generations of children before a golden “Sarotti Magician” replaced the Moor in the early 2000s.

    But not in Mannheim, where the Moor is still visible on one of the city’s most important cultural institutions.

    The “Capitol”, a venue which was built in the 1920s as a movie theater and later mutated into a venue for concerts and other stage performances, is known and loved throughout the region. For a long time, nobody was bothered by the chocolate brand’s image of a black servant.

    Until last year. For the first time in the city, public discontent about the supposedly racist representation was expressed. The trigger was an event in the building organised on the subject of racism, in which participants objected to the decoration in the foyer.

    As a result, the management of the Capitol have been battling critics for month now. An open letter has recently been sent to the Cultural Center demanding that: The Moor must go!

    In addition, the politically correct activists call on management and the city authorities to take “responsibility for the colonial racist presence in public”.

    The main signatories of the letter are: Tahir Della of the “Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland”, Halua Pinto de Magalhães from the University of Heidelberg and Onur Suzan Nobrega, sociologist at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

    The decision to keep the “Sarotti-Mohr”, according to the initiators, is a “faulty decision”. Their criticism is rather formulated like an order, typical of “left-wing opinion dictators” and the “cultural Taliban” says journalist Boris Kaiser.

    The head of the Capitol Thorsten Riehle, has pointed out that those in charge have spoken to numerous people who, because of their skin colour or origin, are themselves directly affected by racism. A majority of them, he says, were in favour of keeping the Sarotti Moor.

    He however felt it necessary to state that “we have one common goal: to expose racism and discrimination and to fight for an open and tolerant society”. But first of all, Riehle will have to fight against the racism gang, says Kaiser.

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